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Dai Woosnam of Dai Woosnam

reviews Toadstone by Random

Random are: Saul Rose, Melodeons; Glynn Burch, Trombone; Keith Holloway, Bass Guitar; Paul Nye, Melodeon & Harmonica; Roger Smith, Drums; and Ian Woledge, Guitar.


They are very much a ceilidh band, and on the strength of this CD, vocals are to them what sponsor advertising is to the Barcelona football jersey.
 
They clearly want nothing to get in the way of their music: music which they attack with the appetite of a monk who has just escaped from ten years’ hard Gregorian chanting!


They are led by melodeon virtuoso Saul Rose, and have produced 55 minutes of uncompromising dance music. I nearly said “English” dance music, but truth to tell, the album is fairly eclectic stuff, drawing as it does from Vermont and Galicia!


It kicks off with “Mount Hills /“Stingo”. These are quintessentially English. Both John Playford tunes (albeit if very different from each other). The band exude bonhomie, and such is the infectious quality of both playing and music that they make even “two left feet both in the same shoe” me, feel that I want to express myself in dance.


But it is with track 5 that the album really peaked for me. “Waiting For A Partner” and “Twin Sisters” are trombonist Glynn Burch’s favourites, and not for nothing!   His jaunty playing is a positive delight, and made me grin like I’d lost my mind. (I’m still grinning even now, as I think of it.)


And the album also ends delightfully with “Captain Courageous”/“Ice House Schottische No. 2”. These are both wonderful tunes from hurdygurdy player Nigel Eaton. (Now there’s a thought! Full sound though the band has, would it not be great if Nigel could bring his instrument to the Random table! That would be some group then.)


But musing aside, let me return to the 2 tracks of Nigel’s. Suffice to say that they do what closing tracks should always do: they leave you wanting more.